Fire safety course credited with helping save lives in Raytown blaze

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A family who lost their 4-year-old son to an apartment fire over the weekend is crediting a school fire safety course for saving their other son's life. It happened near 60th street and Raytown Road overnight Saturday.

Jeremiah Roberts, 4, died in the fire. Family said his 6-year-old little brother tried to save Jeremiah, but he was too afraid to follow him out of the building. Jacob Roberts Junior told his family that firefighters at school taught him how to escape the flames.

The Raytown Fire Department spends $10,000 a year on fire training materials for kids. Fire Chief Matt Mace said going to schools and teaching kids fire safety basics can save lives.

"It's quite possible Kansas City was at the school, it's quite possible we were at the school, but either way the message is the same," he said.

Chief Mace said students are taught to stay low to the ground and crawl out of the home. He said it is important they don't hide from the fire or from the firefighters.

"The natural reaction for kids is to hide, you know if there's something scary they hide so they will get under the bed or they will get in a closet and that's absolutely the worst thing they can do," Mace said.

During the safety lesson, fire crews will let the students touch the gear and ask questions. Mace said it's all about making the children comfortable around the firefighters.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the cause of the fire. Fire officials said it's still unknown if smoke detectors were being used in the building.